Annual Ailment Spreads Among Acalanes Seniors
Each year, an infectious psychological phenomenon silently preys on the senior class, threatening the minds of fourth year students everywhere. However, this infection is very different from the common cold or flu. This sickness has been dubbed “senioritis,” a condition that causes the school’s oldest students to become increasingly indifferent towards school during their last few months of high school studies.
“When you get senioritis you just stop caring about school,” said senior Michael Yang. “It sucks up all the energy you have when you try to do anything school related.”
Senioritis has no set date for when its symptoms hit. Some report to feel its symptoms after they are accepted into college, while others say they’ve felt the impact of senioritis since the difficult beginnings of senior year.
“Senioritis has definitely [ruined] the grades of many seniors,” said senior Hsin-Hung Lin.
Senioritis is no new phenomenon; cases have been prevalent for generations of high school students. Each case gives its victim the same feeling of being burned out and tired of school.
“I’m sure we had senioritis, [but] we just didn’t call it that,” said French and English teacher Ann Rasmussen. “I think we all get [senioritis] in our Western society, but it’s not an excuse for anything.”
Many attribute senioritis to the changing ideology of high school seniors as they look forward to donning their graduation caps and gowns in June.
“Because colleges most likely won’t look [too much] at your second semester grades, seniors just stop caring,” said Lin. “Some people feel like once they have done enough to get into college, they don’t [have] to do anything more.”
Some younger students certainly sympathize with the seniors’ condition, as these upperclassmen have been at the same school for four years and cannot wait to move on to bigger and better things.
“Once they’re done with the long application process for college, seniors feel liberated from the hard work they’ve done so [much] that they want to slack off a bit before they go onto another four years of even harder work at their colleges,” said junior Sophia Takashima. “They probably want to feel the relaxation they had when they were freshmen in high school.”
Many younger students have learned to expect senioritis from their senior peers.
“Once second semester hit, I would ask my senior friends [about] homework, and the answer I would get was ‘I haven’t done it, I’m a second semester senior,’” said Takashima.
As a result of putting everything off and not doing homework, oftentimes seniors’ grades will start to drop, whether they like it or not.
“When seniors get senioritis, their grades drop and they start asking questions like, ‘Will the college of my choice rescind its admission offer?,’ and stuff like that,” said Lin. “Most seniors are afraid of getting a ‘C-’ or ‘D’ from senioritis if it gets bad enough, but most likely grades tend to be lower second semester than first semester of senior year.”
Though many seniors feel as if they can sit back and relax after they get into a college, they still have to keep their grades above passing level, or else colleges may rescind acceptance letters.
“I used to have a student at Piedmont High School who dropped from an ‘A’ to a ‘D’ because he basically didn’t come to school,” said Mandarin teacher Ma-Chen Tu. “Then, after the final grade of his second semester of senior year, because he missed his tests and everything and got a ‘D’ in the class, [University of California] Berkeley rescinded [its] admission offer.”
Many seniors feel this need to take a break from school and skip for a day of relaxation. Seniors declared April 20 “Senior Ditch Day” and many did not attend school. Seniors who participated in “Ditch Day” felt that the event is simply a well-deserved break from the hard work they’ve put into their high school careers.
“Ditching school is a part of being a senior and is something that all students get to look forward to when they get into high school,” said a senior who requested anonymity due to the fact that he participated in Senior Ditch Day. “It does not mean that we hate school, but that we would like to take a day off to enjoy [time] with friends because of the hard work we have put in for the last few years.”
Teachers and the administration are usually able to catch wind of when Senior Ditch Day might occur through the rumor mill.
“If a person participated in Senior Ditch Day, we can treat it as a cut,” said Rasmussen. “The student has the right to make up the work, but they don’t have the right to make it count toward their grade.”
Even though the majority of seniors have caught senioritis, there are a select few who seem to have been able to avoid it.
“Senioritis is something you can choose and not choose to have. Some people choose to not care about school at the end of the year and just use senioritis as an excuse,” said Lin. “But, I don’t think that being a senior means you should try any less than if you weren’t a senior.”